Photo: Jeppe Mølgaard Thomsen

Birgith Sølvblad

We met Birgith Sølvblad on Knuth Winterfeldts Allé on one of the first days of spring.

Birgith is on her way home at 1.30 p.m. She is a flex worker who works three and a half hours, four days a week as a secretary at DTU Mechanical Engineering.

“I’ve been at DTU for 20 years—first at the Information Secretariat—as it was then called—when I came up with the blueprint for the Open house event, which I organized for many years. I was also around when DTUavisen was created as a replacement for the University newspaper Sletten in 2004; here, I managed finances and publication, and also participated slightly in the design phase. Nowadays, I don’t read the newspaper very often, but I leaf through it if I happen to come across it.

In 2006, my husband passed away and the job became too stressful for me. I enquired around at DTU and fortunately there were lots of people who could use a secretary like me. After a few years in the Office for Budget and Accounting, I moved to DTU Mechanical Engineering.”

What is your biggest challenge right now?
“My main concern is whether we experience a lockout. That’s an experience I’d rather do without. But other than that, I don’t see any challenges. I’m very happy with my flexijob, which was offered to me following a traffic accident where I suffered whiplash and a slipped disc. I was offered an invalidity pension, but I preferred having a job.

I have a special chair and have to be careful to avoid challenging movements. I don’t take painkillers anymore because then I can’t sense my physical limitations. Sometimes I think I could stay on an extra half hour, but it really doesn’t work. Then my body lets me know straight away. ” 

What makes you happiest?
“When work runs smoothly—I’m a workaholic and love my work, so it’s a shame that I can’t manage more. Going to work really puts a smile on my face.

I’m dealing with research contracts at the moment, making sure to get all the signatures, making notes, and also helping with accounting now and then, as I am a superuser after working in the Office for Budget and Accounting. I’m a bit of a Jill of all trades. I’ll reach retirement age in a year—so I’ll just have to see if I can continue working a few hours at DTU. It’s great using your brain and staying active. Fortunately, there’s nothing wrong with my fingers.”